How to Set CLEAR Goals and Achieve Them (Best SMART Goal Alternatives)

How to set goals and achieve them?

Whether you’re a new employee who just started your career, or an experienced employee climbing the corporate ladder.

You’ve probably experienced setting daily job and career goals.

Goals that might be too ambitious, or unclear that make it almost impossible achieve.

This is because, you are setting your goals the wrong way.

If you want to achieve the goals that you’ve set, just follow this advice.

Set CLEAR, realistic goals that helps you to think clearly and deeply into the scope of the goal.

CLEAR Goals is a goal setting strategy that to break your long-term goals into small, achievable and actionable steps. Achieving multiple goals along your way to give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you forward.

CLEAR is the acronym that stand for Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable, Refinable.

Clear Goals Setting Methodology Acronyms

CLEAR Goal Setting

How to write CLEAR Goals?

When writing CLEAR goals, there are 5 things to consider.

  • Collaborative: Goals are achieve in collaboration with the help of others, especially in human society, where we live in a big community.
  • Limited: Set limit to your goal’s duration and scope so that it can be clear and achievable.
  • Emotional: Emotions often control what we do or how we perform a task. Consider how the goal can connect with the employees and tap into their energy and passion.
  • Appreciable: Break down large goals into smaller actionable goals so that it can be accomplished easily and quickly. Take small but continuous steps towards achieving the final goal.
  • Refinable: Set goals with a clear objective, but as situation arise, refine and modify your goals accordingly.


Collaboration will allow employees to work together by contributing their unique skills and expertise to help meeting the objectives.

Each members of the team will achieve their individual goals which together will result in bigger accomplishment.

Questions to ask:

  • Who is in your team?
  • Who are your stakeholders, customers, counterparts?
  • Who do you need support from in order to achieve this?
  • Who will be benefit from achieving this goal?
  • Who will be willing to support you?

In a collaborative society, we cannot do everything ourselves.

We need to seek out collaboration with the right people if we want to achieve our goals.

This is especially true if you are setting up a project management team.

Understanding who to collaborate and who to be in your team will be the first step to succeed in your goal.


Limiting the duration and scope of your goal will allow you to set clear and achievable goals.

With this, you will be able to set the limit in terms of duration and difficulty on your set goals.

With a target endpoint and a realistic achievable goal in mind, it will motivate you to work towards the goal.

Questions to ask:

  • When do you start and work on it?
  • When do you need to accomplish the task?
  • What is the time limit of this goal?
  • What is the geographical limit?
  • What are the financial targets of this goal?
  • Are there do’s and don’t when achieving this goal?
  • How do I know when the goal is achieved?

Set a limit that is clear and realistic.

Limit your depth of your goal to a level where it is achievable.

Limit your duration so that you won’t procrastinate.


Set goals that make an undeniable emotional connection with you and your core team. The goal should tap into the energy and passion.

Employee are excited by the prospect of accomplishing their goals when they work on things that they enjoy and are good at.

Emotions create actions,

Actions create results.

Questions to ask:

  • Will this goal align with my purpose?
  • Why is this goal important?
  • How passionate am I in fulfilling this goal?
  • How will the goal affect the emotions of the people in my team?
  • How passionate are my team in fulfilling this goal?

When anyone in the team have met the goal, the manager should always applaud them for a job well done, so they feel appreciated and get motivated for the next challenge.


Large goals should be break down into smaller milestone. These small but important milestone prevents the employee working on these goals from feeling overwhelmed by large, long-term goals.

Question: “How do you eat an elephant?”

Answer: “A bite at a time.”

Questions to Ask:

  • What is the next most obvious action?
  • What are the key milestones of this goal?
  • What other goals will be accomplished while working towards this final goal?
  • What are the key performance indicator?
  • How do I separate the key performance indicator into a few smaller milestones?

Breaking down large scary goals can help you in creating actionable steps.

Taking these steps can help you to achieve milestones, or small goals need to bring you closer to your final goal.

Question: “How do you earn a million dollar?”

Answer: “A dollar at a time.”


Set goals that are clear, defined, but flexible enough to adapt to new situation, or when new information arise. Be open to refine and modify your goals when necessary.

Be agile.

Because, no one will know what will happen in the future.

Questions to ask:

  • What situation or new information may arise that lead to a change in the overall goal?
  • How will I adapt to the best-case scenario?
  • How will I adapt to the worst-case scenario?
  • How will I adapt to the most likely scenario?
  • When will this goal serve no purpose due to the change in the situation?
  • When do I need to revisit the goal to tweet it to suit the change in needs?

By being agile and having an open mindset of welcoming surprises, you will ensure your goals will never become irrelevant in this ever changing environment.

CLEAR Goals Examples

CLEAR Goals Examples for Retirement

“My wife and I will work together to achieve financial security for our retirement.

We will accomplish this by saving $1 million dollar by the age of 60.

We will save 20% of our salary each year and celebrate our success at every $100,000 dollar saved.

We will review our financial plan every 3 years so that we can be sure we are on our way to reaching our target.”

CLEAR Goals Examples for Sales Target

“I will work with my clients and my team on each sales to reach our sales target.

I will achieve at least 20 sales every month, which will help achieve the team’s overall sales target and get the fat bonus for being the best sales team of the month.

To achieve this, I will close 5 deals every week and at least 1 deal every workday.

I will perform periodic review on my sales target, when there is changes to the company’s policy, or product seasonal variation.”

CLEAR Goals Examples for Project Completion

“I will work with my project team to ensure successful completion of this qualification project.

We will complete at least 1 milestone every month and successfully complete the qualification project in 6 months time.

To achieve this, we will spend at least 30% of our time focusing on this project.

Every week, we will come together to review our progress and resolve any roadblock so that we may achieve our milestone and timely completion of the qualification project.”

Clear Goals vs SMART Goals

CLEAR Goals is the best goal setting strategy for setting team objectives, or team goals. Setting CLEAR Goals in project management allows the leadership team to set realistic, actionable goals that can adapt and be agile when new information or situation arise.

SMART is the acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. SMART Goal methodology is commonly used for setting both short-term and long-term goals that measures your outcome. Although SMART methodology can be used to set individual and team goals, SMART goals lacks the agility to adapt to new information or situation.

Why CLEAR Goals might be better than SMART Goals?

CLEAR Goals is replacing SMART goals in many ways. In this ever changing environment where there is always a constant new influx of information.

Setting CLEAR goals allows you to always adapt to the current situation and make the best decision that can move you closer to your goals.

Clear Goals Setting Methodology Acronyms

CLEAR Goals Setting

Alternative to SMART Goals


  • Do you think CLEAR Goals is better than SMART Goals?
  • Are you using CLEAR Goals methodology for your team?
  • What other alternative to SMART Goals do you know about?

PS. Have you heard of FAST Goals, check this new alternative to SMART goals as well.

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